Conducting the Reference Interview: How to Ask Better Questions to Make Customers Happy

  • With Robin Filipczak and Stacey Grijalva
  • Originally aired 11/06/2019
  • View the Archive

“Do you have any books on law?”

“I need information on bats.”

Have customers ever asked you general or ambiguous questions like these? How do we connect customers with exactly what they need when the way they ask for something is open to many interpretations?

Enter… the reference interview! The purpose of a reference interview is to find out what a customer wants so library staff can match the information need with the library’s resources.

Join us as we break down the process into simple steps and discuss solutions to common problems. Participants will leave with a 6-step tool kit to asking better questions so customers leave happy.

This class is intended to give an introduction and basic overview of the reference interview. The class is aimed at front-line staff and librarians who want a refresher.

Recommended Pre-Session Reading:

Resources

Session Handout (PDF)

About Robin Filipczak and Stacey Grijalva

Robin Filipczak is a reference librarian at the Denver Public Library. She has served on the CAL Awards Committee and she is an adjunct professor in the University of Denver LIS program. She recognizes the space between a question and an answer as a space of transformation and she is privileged to work in that space.

Stacey Grijalva is a librarian at the Denver Public Library, responsible for finding answers ranging from what to read next to the welfare status of women in post-war Britain. She never grew out of asking “why” but has since learned better questions. She previously worked for the University of Maryland.